Closing in on almost a year, Mikey Garcia was last seen in the ring facing off against Errol Spence Jr. That was last March, and while he didn’t get the result he had hoped for, Garcia was convinced he belonged in the Welterweight division.
Despite pleads from family members, and murmurs from the boxing media, Garcia found himself against former champion, Jessie Vargas on Saturday, February 29, 2020.
This was a must-win for both fighters, as both looked to land big opportunities and paydays down the line. But for Garcia, this was redemption.
Plenty was made leading up to this fight about if Garcia had yet again, bitten off more than he could chew. Despite the odds from most sports books, who had Garcia as the heavy favorite, most ringside felt that Vargas was certainly a live dog, and stood a very good chance of winning.
Going against a naturally a quicker fighter and certainly a bigger man, it would be interesting to see how Garcia would withstand his second going at Welterweight.
As the bout commenced, the speed and size advantage seemed to be evident. Vargas set the tone early on and demonstrated he was here to make it a long night for Garcia.
Vargas would find success early on and clipped Garcia on multiple occasions. Garcia seemed to catch the shots well and didn’t seem fazed. In the fifth round it was Vargas who found himself in trouble.
A sharp one-two combination from Garcia landed flush on Vargas and down he went. The pro-Garcia crowd rejoiced, as Vargas grinned while down on one knee waiting on the count.
Vargas would rise to his feet and survive the round, but his legs were wobbly. In one round, Garcia had effectively turned the tide and made it a real fight.
Vargas would begin to gather himself, but seemed gun shy in comparison to his early rounds. The next few rounds were the Garcia takeover. Vargas significantly lowered his pace and relied on small bursts of combinations, but found little luck.
The championship rounds approached and Garcia had found his groove as he continued to land the cleaner shots. But Vargas would show some liveliness in the 11th.
The final round came and Vargas started fast, probably under the assumption that he was down on the cards. Garcia continued to try and close the show with style, but Vargas stayed in and fought until the end.
The fight went to the judges’ hands and Mikey Garcia secured the unanimous decision victory with scores reading 114-113, 116-111 and 116-111.
“I felt much better [at 147 pounds],” said Garcia. “I carried the weight better, my power felt good, everything felt good.”
Perhaps the confidence-building fight he needed, Garcia quickly spoke about fighting eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao or securing a rematch with Errol Spence Jr.
Whatever the case, Garcia is without a doubt convinced he can not only campaign at 147, but also win a world title.